Nick Cannon stirred up a heated racial debate on social media this week after he donned "white face" to promote his new album "White People's House Music."
Cannon, 33, posted photos and videos of himself dressed as his new alter ego, a blonde-haired California surfer dude named Connor Smallnut, on Instagram Monday to apparently call attention to the album, which drops April 1.
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"It's official... I'm White!!! #WHITEPEOPLEPARTYMUSIC #Wppm in stores April 1st!!!!!!Dude Go Get It!!!Join The Party!!!! #GoodCredit #DogKissing #BeerPong #FarmersMarkets #FistPumping #CreamCheeseEating #RacialDraft 'Bro I got drafted!!'" he captioned one of the photos.
Many were offended by Cannon's white face, which they likened to blackface. Blackface originated in the mid-1800s when white performers would paint their skin black and act as stereotyped caricatures of black people in minstrel shows. It's considered racist today because it's seen as a culturally insensitive reminder of some of America's most racist times.
The "America's Got Talent" host received strongly worded comments on Instagram and Twitter about the photo, with some users calling him a hypocrite and accusing him of applying a double-standard to whites who have gone to parties dressed in blackface.
Others came to Cannon's defense on Twitter.
A commenter on Jezebel.com wrote that the issue of whether Cannon's white face
is racist lies in the context of dressing up as another race, regardless of ethnicity.
"Racism isn't over because we've elected a black president, but it's safe to say we've moved past minstrel shows," the user posted. "Is that the connection a black person is going to make when they see a white person in blackface, a minstrel show they've likely never seen? It's dumb and racist no matter who paints their skin black or white."
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